House of Dorchester

While queuing in the Post Office the other day, I noticed an advert for Christmas gifts available from the Post Office’s website. Apparently the Christmas Gift of the Year is a collection of seven chocolates called Seven Deadly Sins. Later on, I saw these chocolates for real in the supermarket, and had to investigate.

Made by the swanky-sounding House of Dorchester, the gift contains an assortment of filled chocolates, each associated with a different deadly sin. One of the first things I noticed was that Avarice is missing and has been replaced by Greed, making it difficult to distinguish between Greed and Gluttony. Presumably this is because the manufacturers thought people would not understand what Avarice is, which is a shame because it would be an ideal opportunity to expand the vocabulary of the masses.

Anger – White Chocolate Praline
Gluttony – White Chocolate Lemon Truffle
Greed – Milk Chocolate Maple Praline
Sloth – Milk Chocolate Praline
Lust – Dark Chocolate Praline
Envy – White Chocolate Apricot Truffle
Pride – Milk Chocolate Coffee Truffle

Quite why apricots would make one envious is a mystery to me. Maybe it’s the cyanide.

It’s hard to know where to start with criticisms of the product, apart from the malapropism. It’s horrendously overpackaged, each chocolate coming in its own little box within the bigger box. The fillings sound quite boring and are all quite similar. It would have been interesting to have used appropriate centres: something sour for envy, perhaps, or chilli for anger, and the Avarice chocolate could have been decorated with gold leaf.

A peek at the ingredients reveals that not only are these unimaginative, overcomplicated sweets, but also that they are of poor quality. The chocolate contains vegetable fat which indicates that it is not a premium product. At 9.99 for only 14 chocolates, this makes them even poorer value. Chantal Coady’s Rococo assortment, available at Waitrose, costs 15 for about the same number of chocolates and includes fillings like geranium, violet and the intriguing Venus Nipple.

Perhaps the most saddening aspect of the gift is the idea that these chocolates are hedonistic and sinful: so indulgent that their consumption puts your very soul in danger. It might, but not in the way the marketing would have you believe. There is no evidence that the chocolate was ethically traded, nor that they are especially nice to eat.

Real chocolate *is* dark, bitter and sinful. It fills your mouth with an explosion of complex flavours and then melts away leaving nothing behind. It’s worth getting overweight for.

I’d advise giving the Seven Deadly Sins assortment a miss and spend the 9.99 on some Valrhona Cariabe, a bottle of cheap wine and a night in.

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